Peyton Manning was faced with a tough choice after his junior season, something Michael Jordan helped advise him on but ultimately Manning chose to ignore him.
Manning was taken first overall in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Manning would build a stellar career over his time in the NFL. He won two Super Bowls, won the MVP award five times, and he is now in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Manning had a choice after his junior season to keep playing for the University of Tennessee or to declare for the NFL draft and enter the professional world. It’s definitely a tough decision, and Manning reached out to several people to ask for advice, and even Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan chipped in with their advice.
What a speech from Peyton Manning 👏
— ESPN (@espn) August 9, 2021
Michael Jordan Told Peyton Manning To Take The Money And Ditch His Final Year Of College
Manning’s advisors included several NFL greats at the time including Roger Staubach, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, and Bernie Kosar. Manning had recorded some sensational stats in his sophomore and junior years at Tennessee.
He threw for 2,954 yards, 22 touchdowns, and four interceptions with a Citrus Bowl victory. He followed that up with an even more impressive 3,287 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in his junior season. While those numbers are great, Manning felt like they could be better and help improve his overall draft stock.
He was still one of the highest rated prospects for sure, but he wanted to make sure he went as high in the draft as he possible could. Another strong season at college would have really solidified that.
However, at the same time, Manning would be missing out on a whole year’s worth of time in the NFL which includes making some serious money. That’s why Jordan had some simple advice for Manning.
Jordan himself didn’t choose to play his senior year. Jordan himself was a college phenomenal college prospect with averages of 20.0 and 19.6 points per game in his sophomore and junior years while winning the AP Player of the Year award in his junior year.
So, what exactly did Jordan tell Manning to do?
“Take the money and run.”
Manning did not follow up on his advice, and he instead played one more year at college. That decision had a huge impact on NFL history as if he declared for the draft earlier, there’s a real chance he could have been drafted by the New York Jets who had the number one overall pick.
Instead the Colts got him, and the rest is history. It’s pretty interesting to imagine what could have been though if the Jets had picked up Manning. Would Bill Belichick not have left then, making him and Manning the best QB-coach duo of all time instead of Tom Brady? Would Tom Brady have even played an NFL game if Belichick wasn’t there to give him the green light? History could have been vastly different.
Some great Peyton Manning stories:
Deciding whether or not to go pro after his junior year at Tennessee, he called 5 different QBs for advice: Staubach, Simms, Aikman, Bledsoe, Kosar.
Then he talked with Michael Jordan.
“Take the money and run,” Jordan told him.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 8, 2021